Sunday, June 04, 2017

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes, ed. by Martin Edwards

I've always been a fan of locked-room mysteries. I went through a streak when I read every book I could find by John Dickson Carr. Now, as part of the British Library Crime Classics series, editor Martin Edwards presents sixteen stories from the "Golden Age of Murder" in Miraculous Mysteries: Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes.

Edwards' introductions are always fascinating. He presents the background and history of the type of stories in the anthology. The "Golden Age of Murder" was the period between the two world wars when a number of authors, mostly British, were writing intriguing detective and mystery stories. In this collection, Edwards has gathered stories by authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, Michael Innes. Usually, it is the character they are best known for who investigates and reveals the truth behind the seemingly impossible crime. For those of us fascinated by the history of the mystery genre, Edwards' brief introductions to each story are invaluable. He includes biographical information about the author, the background of their writing, a little about their sleuth, and, often, the history of the story we are about to read.

The stories in this collection are set in family chapels, museums, family homes, trains. My favorite story in the collection is Dorothy L. Sayers' "The Haunted Policeman". Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane are new parents, but Wimsey finds time to assist a policeman with a missing house. Each story is clever and detailed.

The last time I read one of the books in British Library Crime Classics, I went back and bought all the previous books, and pre-ordered two forthcoming volumes. It's a joy to remember some of the authors I loved years ago, and to discover new ones. And, there's nothing I appreciate more than classic Miraculous Mysteries.

Martin Edwards' website is

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked-Room Murders and Impossible Crimes, edited by Martin Edwards. Poisoned Pen Press, 2017. ISBN 9781464207440 (paperback), 358p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist provided an early e-galley so I could review the book for a journal.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

This one is going on my list, of course.

Lesa said...

Of course, Jeff!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Lesa. So glad you liked this one. Lots more to come, including an anthology I'm very excited about, Foreign Bodies - translated classic crime stories.

Lesa said...

I own them all, Martin. I haven't read them all, but I bought the entire set in the last couple months from Poisoned Pen Press. Thank you for what you're doing.